TEMPE, Ariz. -- After 40 years of hosting some of baseball's greatest players, Packard Baseball Stadium at Arizona State University will close its doors for good. The 2014 baseball season will be the last played on the diamond steeped with tradition and history.
The stadium has been home to national championship teams and scores of athletes who have gone on to play in the major leagues, including Barry Bonds, Dustin Pedroia and Andre Ethier. Sun Devil baseball player Trever Allen says he grew up in Tempe. His father also played at Packard, which was built in 1974.
"I've been a Devil since birth," the outfielder said. "It's going to be hard to see this place go, honestly. It's surreal right now until it's actually torn down."
Allen’s teammate, pitcher Zac Miller, believes the team has extra motivation to bring home a national championship this year -- to give Packard a storybook ending.
"This is such an amazing atmosphere for college baseball that being here and just being engulfed in the facility, the aura of what’s been here before us, I hope (fans) understand that this place was something special," he said.
A spokesman for ASU says necessary upgrades to the stadium, like bringing the stands in compliance with ADA standards, came with too steep of a price tag. The spokesman explains that the land could be commercially developed. The field sits on prime real estate at Rural Road and Rio Salado Parkway.
When the team moves to its new home at Phoenix Municipal Stadium near the Phoenix Zoo, a piece of Packard will come with the players. A sign just outside the clubhouse outlining the team’s values will be re-hung near the new Sun Devil club house.
The ASU baseball team's last season at Packard kicks off Friday, Feb. 14. Games will be played at Packard Stadium through May.
Throughout the season the baseball program will honor long-time season ticket holders and former players who have worn the Sun Devil uniform in the past.
"Tip Your Cap To Packard" logo
"Tip Your Cap To Packard" wallpapers